American History and Genealogy Project

State of New Hampshire

New Hampshire, one of the northern United States, is bounded n. by Lower Canada; e. by Maine; s. e. by the Atlantic, and s. by Massachusetts; and w. by Vermont, from which it is separated by the western bank of Connecticut r. It is between 42° 41' and 45° 11' n. lat., and 70° 40' and 72° 28' w. lon. It is 160 miles long, and from 19 to 90 broad, containing 9,280 square miles, or 5,939,200 acres. The population, in 1790, was 141,885; in 1800, 138,858; in 1810, 214,460; in 1820, 244,161; in 1830, 269,328; in 1840, 284,574. Of these, 139,004 are free white males; 145,032 do. females; 248 free colored males; 290 do. females. Engaged in agriculture, 77,949; in commerce, 1,379; in manufactures and trades, 17,826; navigating the ocean, 455; do. lakes and rivers, 193; learned professions, 1,640.

Concord is the seat of government, situated on the Merrimac r., 63 ms. n. n. w. from Boston, with which it has a boatable communication, by means of the river and the Middlesex canal.

The state is divided into 10 counties, which, with their population and capitals, are as follows;

County, Population, Capital

Rockingham, 45,771, Portsmouth and Exeter Strafford, 23,166, Dover and Rochester
Merrimac, 36,253, Concord Belknap, 17,988, Guilford
Hillsborough, 42,494, Amherst Carroll, 19,973, Ossipee
Cheshire, 26,429, Keene Grafton, 42,311, Haverhill and Plymouth
Sullivan, 20,340, Newport Coos, 9,849, Lancaster

New Hampshire has only 18 ms. of seacoast, and the shore is generally a sandy beach, bordered in front by salt marshes, and penetrated by creeks and coves, suitable for harbors for small craft. There are only two bluffs on the coast, Great and Little Boar's Heads, both in the town of Hampton. Portsmouth, at the entrance of the Piscataqua, is the only harbor for ships, and it is one of the best in the United States. The land, for the distance of 20 or 30 miles from the sea, is either level or moderately uneven. Beyond that, more elevated hills are found; and toward the northern part, the country may be considered mountainous, having many elevated summits, some of which are the highest in the United States east of the Rocky mountains. The principal chain commences between the Connecticut and Merrimac rivers, and passes n. of the sources of the Merrimac. This may be considered as a continuation of the great Alleghany range. The highest summits are Grand Monadnock, toward the s. w. part of the state, 3,254 feet above the level of the sea; Sunapee mountain, near Sunapee lake; and further n., Moosehillock, 4,636 feet high; and still further n., the White mountains tower in majestic grandeur to the height of 6,428 feet, the most elevated summit being denominated Mount Washington. The Notch, in the White mountains, is a great curiosity, being in some places not more than 22 feet wide, with lofty precipices on both sides, affording some of the wildest and grandest scenery in nature. A road passes through this Notch, being the only place in which it can be passed. Through this road the produce in the n. part of New Hampshire, and the n. e. part of Vermont, finds a market at Portland; and so important is this communication considered by Maine, that its legislature has sometimes made grants for its improvement. One of the head branches of the Saco r. flows through the Notch.

New Hampshire may be considered as a fertile state, particularly on the margins of the rivers, and especially of the Connecticut. The elevated parts afford a fine grazing country, and the valleys are productive. The principal productions are grass, wheat, rye, Indian corn; and beef, pork, mutton, and butter and cheese, are produced in great quantities. According to the census of 1840, there were in New Hampshire 43,892 horses and mules; 275,562 neat cattle; 617,390 sheep; 121,671 swine. Value of poultry produced, $107,092. There were produced 422,124 bushels of wheat; 121,899 of barley; 1,296,114 of oats; 308,148 of rye; 105,103 of buckwheat; 1,162,572 of Indian corn; 1,260,517 pounds of wool; 243,425 pounds of hops; 6,206,606 bushels of potatoes; 496,107 tons of hay; 26½ of hemp and flax; 1,162,368 pounds of sugar. The products of the dairy were $1,638,543; of the orchard, $239,973; of lumber, $433,217.

The Merrimac river is made navigable by dams, locks, and canals, from Concord until it meets the Middlesex canal. By this route much of the produce of the southern part of the state finds a market at Boston. In the western part of the state, much of it goes down Connecticut river to Hartford. In the upper counties the market is extensively at Portland, Me. Portsmouth is the most commercial place in the state. The principal articles of export are lumber, fish, beef, pork, horses, neat cattle, sheep, flax seed, and pot and pearl ashes.
The climate of New Hampshire is subject to great extremes of heat and cold, hut the air is generally salubrious. In the month of November the rivers are generally frozen, and the snow usually lies until April, and in the northern and mountainous parts until May.

The largest rivers in this state are the Connecticut, made boatable to the 15 mile falls, at Bath, N. H., 250 ms. above Hartford, Ct.; the Merrimac, boatable to Concord. The Saco, the Androscoggin, and the Piscataqua, rise and run, in part, in this state. The other rivers are the Upper and Lower Ammonoosuc, Sugar, Ashuelot, Contoocook, Maragallaway, and Nashua. By means of the Piscataqua, a sloop navigation is opened to Newmarket, Durham, and Exeter.

The lakes are numerous and picturesque. Lake Winnipiseogee, near the centre of the state, 23 miles long, and from 2 to 10 broad; Umbagog, which lies partly in Maine; Ossipee, Sunapee, Squam, and Newfound, are the principal.

The harbor of Portsmouth is one of the finest in the world, protected from storms, has 40 feet of water at low tide, is easily defended, and easily accessible for the largest ships. This is the greatest commercial place in the state. The other principal towns are Dover, Concord, Nashua, Keene, Exeter, Manchester, Peterborough, Walpole, Claremont, Gilmanton, Meredith, Hanover, and Haverhill.

The exports for the year ending September, 1840, amounted to $20,761; and the imports to $114,647. There were 18 commercial and 6 commission houses engaged in foreign trade, with a capital of $1,330,600; 1,075 retail drygoods and other stores, employing a capital of $2,602,422; 117 persons engaged in internal transportation, who, with 38 butchers, packers, &c., employed a capital of $54,120; 626 persons employed in the lumber trade, with a capital of $29,000; 399 persons employed in the fisheries, with a capital of $59,680.

There were in 1840, home-made, or family goods, manufactured to the amount of $538,303. There were 66 woollen manufactories, and 152 fulling mills, employing 893 persons, producing goods to the amount of $795,784, with a capital of $740,345; 58 cotton manufactories, with 195,173 Page 451 spindles, employing 6,991 persons, producing goods to the value of $4,142,301, and employing a capital of $5,523,200; 15 furnaces produced 1,320 tons of cast iron, and 2 forges 125 tons of bar iron, together employing 121 persons, and a capital of $98,200; 1 smelting house, employing 2 persons, produced 1,000 pounds of lead; 13 paper manufactories produced articles to the amount of $150,600, and other paper manufactories to the amount of $1,500, the whole employing 111 persons, with a capital of $104,300; hats and caps were manufactured to the amount of $190,526, and straw bonnets to the amount of $9,379, together employing 2,048 persons, and a capital of $48,852; 17 persons manufactured tobacco to the amount of $10,500, with a capital of $2,100; 251 tanneries employed 776 persons, and a capital of $386,402; 2,131 other manufactories of leather, as saddleries, &c., produced articles to the value of $712,151, and employed a capital of $230,649; 5 distilleries produced 51,244 gallons, 1 brewery 3,000 do., together employing 7 persons, and a capital of $15,998; 3 glass houses employed 85 persons, producing to the amount of $47,000, with a capital of $44,000; 14 potteries employed 29 persons, producing $19,100, with a capital of $6,840; 20 persons manufactured soap to the amount of 10,900 pounds, and tallow candles to the amount of 28,845 pounds and spermaceti or wax candles to the amount of 50,000 pounds, with a capital of $13,550; 191 persons produced machinery to the value of $106,814; 47 persons produced musical instruments to the amount of $26,750, with a capital of $14,050; 197 persons manufactured hardware and cutlery to the amount of $124,460; 55 persons manufactured granite and marble to the amount of $21,918; 236 persons manufactured bricks and lime to the amount of $63,166; 450 persons produced carriages and wagons to the amount of $232,240, employing a capital of $114,762; 7 powder mills employing 11 persons, produced 185,000 pounds of gunpowder, with a capital of $58,000; mills of various kinds employed 1,296 persons, and produced articles to the value of $758,260, with a capital of $1,149,193; ships were built to the amount of $78,000; the manufacture of furniture employed 233 persons, producing articles worth $105,827, and employing a capital of $59,984. There were built 90 brick and 434 wood houses, employing 935 persons, valued at $470,715. There were 36 printing offices, 22 binderies, 27 weekly newspapers, 6 periodicals, the whole employing 256 persons, and a capital of $110,850. The whole amount of capital employed in manufactures was $9,252,448.

The principal literary institution in the state is Dartmouth College, in Hanover, founded in 1770 and has attached to it a flourishing medical department. The Gilmanton Theological Seminary, at Gilmanton, was founded in 1835. In these institutions there were in 1840, 433 students. There are in the state 68 academies, with 5,799 students; and 2,127 common and primary schools, with 82,632 scholars. In the state there were 942 white persons, over 20 years of age, who could neither read nor write.

The principal religious denominations are the Congregationalists, Baptists, and Methodists. In 1836, the Congregationalists had 159 churches, 142 ministers, and 18,982 communicants; the Baptists had 90 churches, 64 ordained ministers, and 6,505 communicants. The Free-will Baptists had 100 congregations, and 81 ministers. The Methodists had 75 ministers. Besides these, there are Presbyterians, Unitarians, Universalists, Episcopalians, some Roman Catholics, and 2 societies of Shakers.

In June, 1839, there were in the state 28 banks, with an aggregate capital of $2,939,508, having a circulation of $1,439,519. This is one of the few states that has no public debt.

There is a state prison at Concord.

A constitution was formed in 1784, and in 1792 this constitution was altered and amended to its present form. The legislature, consisting of a senate and house of representatives, is styled the General Court of New Hampshire. Every town, or incorporated township, having 150 ratable polls, may send one representative; and for every 300 additional polls is entitled to an additional representative. The senate consists of 12 members, chosen by the people in districts. The executive power is vested in a governor and a council of five members. The governor, council, senators, and representatives, are all elected annually by the people on the second Tuesday in March, and their term of service commences on the first Wednesday in June. The General Court meets annually, at Concord, on the first Wednesday in June. Every male inhabitant, of 21 years of age, enjoys the right of suffrage, excepting paupers, and persons excused from paying taxes at their own request. The judiciary power is vested in a supreme court and a court of common pleas. The judges are appointed by the governor and council, and hold their offices during good behavior, but not beyond the age of 70 years.

The internal improvements of this state relate chiefly to the improvement of the Merrimac river, by dams, locks, and short canals. They are--Bow falls, 3 miles below Concord, ¾ of a mile long; Hookset falls, one eighth of a mile; Amoskeag falls, 1 mile; Union falls, 9 miles; and Sewell's falls, ¼ of a mile. The Eastern railroad extends from Massachusetts line to Portsmouth, 15¾ miles; the Nashua and Lowel railroad, from Nashua, N. H., to Lowell, Mass., incorporated in 1836. The Boston and Maine railroad extends from Massachusetts line to Exeter, 14 miles.

New Hampshire was first granted to Ferdinando Gorges, in 1622, and was first settled at Dover Page 452 and Portsmouth in 1623. It came voluntarily under the jurisdiction of Massachusetts in 1641, but was made a separate province, by an act of Charles II., in 1679. It was several times afterwards connected with Massachusetts, until 1741, since which time it has remained a separate state.  

Table of Contents

Source: A Complete Descriptive And Statistical Gazetteer Of The United States Of America, By Daniel Haskel, A. M and J. Calvin Smith, Published By Sherman & Smith, 1843

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